Frequently Asked Questions
Laws and Regulations
- Where can I find all the laws of the United States?
The US Code is the laws of the United States codified by subject matter.
- Where can I find regulations and rules?
Notices, proposed rules, final rules, and more can be found in the daily Federal Register. Federalregister.gov is a “Web 2.0” version of the Federal Register. Comments on proposed rules can be submitted via Federalregister.gov or Regulations.gov. The Code of Federal Regulations is the codification of permanent rules. An electronic version can be accessed through e-CFR.
- Where can I get information about taxes and tax law?
The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) website provides a lot of information about taxes and tax law. Find forms and publications, the tax code and regulations, an interactive tax assist tool, and more.
- Where can I find information about labor laws and regulations?
The Department of Labor provides information about many of the major labor laws. The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor enforces many of these labor laws and regulations. The Department of Labor also provides links to state labor law resources.
- Where can I find information on the HIPPA Privacy Rule?
The US Department of Health and Human Services provides detailed information about the HIPPA Privacy Rule on their website. There is also information about filing a complaint if you believe your health information privacy rights have been violated, as well as a searchable FAQ database.
- Where can I find information on flood insurance? Am I required to buy it?
The National Flood Insurance Program website provides guidance on when flood insurance is required. You can also determine your risk profile and find out if your property is in a high-risk area. If you are interested in reading the laws and regulations pertaining to the National Flood Insurance Program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides links on their website.
- Where can I find information on the Affordable Care Act?
Read the full text of the Affordable Care Act on the Department of Health and Human Services’ website. Use the Related Links on the left side of that page to find information about specific aspects of the law.
- Where can I find information about food identity standards?
The FDA has 300 identity standards in 20 categories of food. The standards are listed in 21 CFR Parts 130 to 169. If a particular food does not have a standard of identity, 21 CFR 102 may apply. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service provides commercial item descriptions (CIDs) that concisely describe the most important characteristics of a commercial product. CIDs are procurement documents, not regulations for manufacturers.
- How can I tell if my product needs to be certified to Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations and standards?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission provides a table listing many of the products for which testing and certification is required. A link to the e-Code of Federal Regulations section for each product can be found in the table as well. The certification and testing process and requirements can be found here. If your product is intended to be a children’s product, the CPSC provides specific instructions here.
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Import and Export Regulations
- What regulations are in place regarding importing vehicles into the United States?
There are several agencies that have regulations regarding importing vehicles. US Customs and Border Protection provides a concise description of their requirements. The Environmental Protection Agency includes procedures and regulations on its website and the Department of Transportation provides further requirements.
- Where can I find information about restrictions on importing, exporting, harvesting, or otherwise dealing with wildlife or wildlife products, like ivory or ginseng?
The Fish and Wildlife Service has a website dedicated to travel and trade as it relates to wildlife and wildlife products. The “Do I Need a Permit?” page provides guidance for those looking for information about what kinds of wildlife and wildlife products require permits.
- What do I need to do to transport a hunting rifle into the US from Canada?
If you are taking the rifle from the US into Canada, and then back to the US, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provides information on the permits and forms required to both transport the weapon into Canada and back across the border to the US. If you are purchasing the rifle in Canada, CBP provides details on the procedures required for importing firearms. If these pages don’t completely answer your question, you might contact CBP directly with information specific to your situation.
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- Where can I find demographic information about a particular city, town, or state?
The US Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder is useful for finding information about population, education, income, poverty, business, housing, and more.
- I’m looking for historical statistics from the federal government, but I can’t find what I need.
Try the historical editions of The Statistical Abstract of the United States, a comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. The US Census Bureau ceased publication of The Statistical Abstract after the 2012 edition, but the historical editions remain online.
- Where can I find statistics about injuries and costs of injuries in the United States?
The Centers for Disease Control hosts WISQARS, the Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System. The system allows for the discovery of different types of data relating to injuries, both fatal and non-fatal. Reports can be run to gather data on the number and cost of injuries caused by specific events, ie. fall, fire, overexertion, poisoning, and more.
- Are there historical statistics that detail government spending on entitlement programs?
The House Ways and Means Committee publishes the Green Book, which provides background information and statistics on entitlement programs. The Archive page includes several editions of the Green Book, dating back to 1994. The Office of Management and Budget provides historical tables which display budget data over time. Tables 8.5 and 8.6 provide data on mandatory and related programs.
- Where can I find statistics on the number of children receiving free and reduced lunch?
State agencies responsible for overseeing the Free and Reduced Lunch programs (often the Department of Education) often provide these statistics on their websites. See, for example, the Maryland Department of Education or the Oregon Department of Education.
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- Where can I find government documents?
The Government Publishing Office provides free access to FDsys, a database of government publications. Search all the publications or browse Congressional documents, hearings, and other publications, the Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, United States Code, and more.
- Does the government have any publications or resources detailing calories and other nutritional content of foods?
The US Department of Agriculture provides a database of nutrient information for over 8,000 foods. Additional resources, including full length publications can be found on the USDA’s “What’s in Food” page.
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- Does the government provide any financial assistance to citizens?
Search for and browse Federal Government grants to organizations like universities, researchers, and non-profits at grants.gov. Information about government loans can be found here. Benefits.gov provides information about financial assistance to individuals and families. If you are looking for financial assistance to individuals and families, you might also want to try your state’s human services or social services department. The Federal Government provides a list of the most popular benefits by topic that may be useful as well.
- Where can I find information on affordable housing?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Community Planning and Development provides resources and information focusing on affordable housing. The Office of Public and Indian Housing works to ensure safe and affordable housing. If you need public housing assistance or would like specific information about public housing programs, you can contact your local public housing agency.
- Where can I find information about Social Security and disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) includes some helpful FAQs. If your question is not answered in the FAQs, you can contact the SSA by phone, email, or mail, or you can visit a local SSA office. Find all contact information here.
- Where can I find information about the Department of Education’s Student Support Services Program?
The Student Support Services Program website provides details about applying for funding, appropriate use of funds, and more. The regulations relating to the program can be found in 34 CFR 646.
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- How can I learn more about copyright?
The United States Copyright Office provides a searchable database of registered copyrights, as well as information about how to register your own copyright.
- Are there government resources that I can use to research my family history?
If you’re just starting your research, the National Archives has some helpful tips. Census records containing names of individuals are on microfilm at the National Archives. The 1940 Census records have been released online. The National Archives also provides links to many online databases that contain Census records, or other useful information that can be helpful to genealogists. Some of these are only available at the National Archives, but many, like ancestry.com, might also be available at your local public library. USA.gov provides links to state government genealogical resources. Local resources will vary, but a local historical society or public library can often point you in the right direction.
- Where can I find Supreme Court oral arguments and decisions?
The Supreme Court provides argument transcripts on its website. The Court also posts its opinions online.
- Where can I find data relating to the performance of government agencies and departments?
Performance.gov provides agency pages for all Cabinet department and nine other major government agencies. The pages include the agency’s mission, strategic goals, objectives, annual performance reports, and more.
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